Wednesday, March 26, 2008

honoria in ciberspazio - Mail Art Archives

Every so often I am asked how to secure mail art archives. Crackerjack Kid seems to tell people I have this knowledge. Here is the sum of my knowledge as written to the most recent inquiry.

Dear Sheril,

Thanks for your letter about your mail art collection blues.

Chuck and David did contact me about David’s archive before he died. Then an archivist working with David's collection before and after he died also contacted me.

I do not have any personal information about collecting, donating, or securing mail art archives, although I think Chuck Welch thinks I do. When I was doing my doctoral research on mail art one of my main findings was that mail artists of a certain age were very concerned about the safety of their archives and wanted to find them a home in an institution.

Here is what I learned and it may be helpful to you.

John Held Jr. a professional librarian with a well-organized archive has sold parts of it to various institutions such as the Smithsonian National Archives and the Getty. John has received a lot of flack for selling mail art, but in fact, that’s a way to get a large institution interested. If you are giving away an archive then it has no actual value to the acquiring organization such as university library or museum.

Judith Hoffberg also a professional librarian donated her archive of artists’ books to her university's library.

I would start by talking to these two mail artists about their archives and how to get yours secured into an institution. Then publish how you did it on the web at mailartist.com. Send your solution to me and I will post it there.

Another avenue is to contact a school of information (formerly called school of library science) at a university. Offer your archive as a capstone project and let students research how to handle mail art archives. I think this is the best idea yet. Grad students get a unique problem they can 1) research 2) solve and then 3) write about in scholarly journals. A byproduct would be that you would secure the works you care about.

I wish you the best of luck in securing your archive or repurposing it into new art. I am a recycler myself so I don’t have an archive and I don’t have archive legacy issues that go with archives.

Best wishes,
honoria

source: http://honoriartist.livejournal.com/370702.html

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Friday, March 07, 2008

GUGLIELMO ACHILLE CAVELLINI

Brescia 1914-1990

Guglielmo Achille Cavellini (also known as GAC, which is how he signed his name) was a genial, multi-dimensional character who created contemporary art for fifty years-- from the end of the Second World War to 1990, when he died. Through his work, he created a type of enlightened judgement, which justly brought the wavering old system back to individuals and their thoughts. An innovative artist of his time, it seems that most people still do not fully understand the scope of what he accomplished-- both in his professional and personal life.
At the end of the 1950s, GAC left his first expressive efforts and discovered a new type of art in Europe (abstract art.) This contemporary genre illustrated the latest direction in painting, and Cavellini fell in love with it. He became a major collector and offered his opinions freely. To many, his value could be limited to this. However, this was only a jumping-off point, which led him to create a cutting-edge concept of art as an individual choice-- an integral part of his life.
In 1960 he resumed abstract painting with force, after having been greatly interested in it for many years. This can be seen as a forerunner to his writing works, which subsequently took shape. He continued to experiment, and in 1965 he churned out a set of works which constituted a further step toward a diversified use of materials. He recovered everyday objects-- mainly toys, model soldiers, razor blades et cetera-- and mixed them with waste materials to create a kind of “dramatic theater,” laden with memories and social denunciation.
Crates with destroyed works followed (1966-1968,) where he incorporated his previous efforts along with pieces by other artists that he was most inspired by. Here the quotation-appropriation element first appeared (1967-1968,) a concept which took a more defined shape with work made from painted wood. In these pieces, he played with characters from art history and early postage stamps, starting an acknowledging process of celebration. Coal, which was a constant symbol for him (1968-1971,) contained the concept of burning-- to create something new by purifying oneself. It was here that he mixed, more openly, concepts that he had only touched on before. By experimenting with different media—and being influenced by other artists and the image of Italy in countless situations-- he developed symbols that acquired the status of “real works.”
In 1970 he created a series entitled Proposte (Proposals,) where he used other artists' most critical work on a historic and artistic level. Play and irony take on an even greater presence, leaving the uncertainty that this is an extreme, harmful act. In 1971 a crucial turning point occurred in his work: he decided to pay attention exclusively to himself to denounce a system, which he felt was filled with insurmountable envy and narrow-mindedness. He coined the term Autostoricizzazione (“Self-historicism”) as a way to put his judgement into practise. This term may seem like a narcissist escamotage, but this concept was so strong that it slipped into the art system and overflowed to its most vital ganglia, revealing all its contradictions.
His "Mostre a domicilio" (Home-delivery exhibitions) were a sort of “flag” for many young artists with whom he had a tight postage-art exchange. In fact, this exchange was so extensive that a remarkable and compelling archive museum was set up with works from all over the world. On several occasions, Cavellini defined that exhibition as his most important work. He then produced posters that would be used worldwide by countless museums to celebrate his centennial, and he included his name with dates ranging from 1914 to 2014. In this moment, the artist's fantasy goes wild. Free from any shame of self-celebration, he appears in his postage stamps with a grimacing expression.
In 1973 he wrote Pagina dell’Enciclopedia (“Encyclopaedia page,”) which starts with a simple autobiographical account and ends in a real hyperbole on the worship of personality. His writing thus became a “painting code,” which was maniacally and insistently used on any medium: columns, dummies, canvases and enormous clothes. This is how Cavellini should be seen: as a real innovator, forerunner and leader of a new way of communicating in art. He stepped over old canonical relations, giving a concrete answer and vitality to his message of provoking judgement within the territory of art.

Guglielmo Achille Cavellini

Guglielmo Achille Cavellini works from 1960-1990

Catalogue with Essay by Sue Spaid

January 3 – February 5, 2004

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 20, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Florence Lynch Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of painting, photography, performance video and assemblage by Guglielmo Achille Cavellini. The exhibition is on view from March 20 to May 3, 2008. An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Thursday, March 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
An innovative artist of his time Cavellini’s work is most frequently associated with Fluxus. Cavellini created art for fifty years—from the end of the Second World War to 1990. An influential collector, he produced many reinterpretations of concurrent artistic works and experimented with abstract painting and assemblage. He also engaged in an extensive postage-art exchange for which he became well-known. This exchanged turned him into the leader of a new way of communicating in art. He became a mythical figure for a generation of underground artists and was regarded as a liberator that would break the chains of a closed system that often excluded artists. In 1970, he invented the term autostoricizzazione (self-historicization) and started a long work of conceptual self-promotion, which sought to by-pass the roles of the critic and of the market, focusing on the mechanisms of the art system.
The exhibition includes the Italian postage stamp series a recurring theme in his work; the work dealt with the idea of celebration. He saw the stamp as a concrete representation of this idea and used it quite frequently. He examined the most common and appealing images in contemporary art and dramatically inserted them into massive wooden inlays. In the crate series, he destroyed works previously created, his and that of others, and put them into crates. By doing so, he broke an evolutionary constant that had been governing his artistic processes. In addition to the various series in different media, Cavellini produced a number of performance videos include From the Page of the Encyclopedia, The Cow, and A day in a Genius Life. Cavellini in New York will be on view for the first time in the US since its production in 1982.
His artist’s books are well-represented in the permanent holdings of New York’s Franklin Furnace and in the archive on 20th century art maintained by the Venice Biennale. Hi work can be find in many private collections and institutions including the Civiche Raccolte Comune di Milano, Museo Pecci Prato, Museo MART Rovereto, Museo di Cavalese Trento, Collezione citta di Pesaro, Civica Raccolta del disegno Sal, FRAC Nord Pas de Calais and Le Consortium Dijon in France.
Cavellini was born in Brescia, Lombardy where he lived and worked until he died in 1990.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00 p.m. For further information and photographic material please contact Florence Lynch or Beatrice Campa at 212-924-3290.Catalogue with Essay by Sue Spaid
January 3 – February 5, 2004
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 20, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Florence Lynch Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of painting, photography, performance video and assemblage by Guglielmo Achille Cavellini. The exhibition is on view from March 20 to May 3, 2008. An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Thursday, March 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
An innovative artist of his time Cavellini’s work is most frequently associated with Fluxus. Cavellini created art for fifty years—from the end of the Second World War to 1990. An influential collector, he produced many reinterpretations of concurrent artistic works and experimented with abstract painting and assemblage. He also engaged in an extensive postage-art exchange for which he became well-known. This exchanged turned him into the leader of a new way of communicating in art. He became a mythical figure for a generation of underground artists and was regarded as a liberator that would break the chains of a closed system that often excluded artists. In 1970, he invented the term autostoricizzazione (self-historicization) and started a long work of conceptual self-promotion, which sought to by-pass the roles of the critic and of the market, focusing on the mechanisms of the art system.
The exhibition includes the Italian postage stamp series a recurring theme in his work; the work dealt with the idea of celebration. He saw the stamp as a concrete representation of this idea and used it quite frequently. He examined the most common and appealing images in contemporary art and dramatically inserted them into massive wooden inlays. In the crate series, he destroyed works previously created, his and that of others, and put them into crates. By doing so, he broke an evolutionary constant that had been governing his artistic processes. In addition to the various series in different media, Cavellini produced a number of performance videos include From the Page of the Encyclopedia, The Cow, and A day in a Genius Life. Cavellini in New York will be on view for the first time in the US since its production in 1982.
His artist’s books are well-represented in the permanent holdings of New York’s Franklin Furnace and in the archive on 20th century art maintained by the Venice Biennale. Hi work can be find in many private collections and institutions including the Civiche Raccolte Comune di Milano, Museo Pecci Prato, Museo MART Rovereto, Museo di Cavalese Trento, Collezione citta di Pesaro, Civica Raccolta del disegno Sal, FRAC Nord Pas de Calais and Le Consortium Dijon in France.
Cavellini was born in Brescia, Lombardy where he lived and worked until he died in 1990.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00 p.m. For further information and photographic material please contact Florence Lynch or Beatrice Campa at 212-924-3290.

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